Brain and Behavior

No, Researchers Have Not Discovered the Cause of OCD

If "fake news" is an epidemic, we see it no place more clearly than in the media relations offices of universities that promote their professors' latest research results. Some of the blame falls on the researchers themselves, who have eschewed conservative, careful language in their studies and instead have turned to hyperbole and over-generalization.

The latest example of scientific "fake news" is the supposed discovery of the single cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And we don't have to look any further than the news release published by the University of Würzburg to see how bad the problem is.

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Antidepressant

Mothers’ Depression, Not SSRI Use, Best Explains Researchers’ Results

Back in October, researchers published the findings from a study that suggested that mothers who take a common form of antidepressants (SSRIs like Prozac) while pregnant are at greater risk for producing offspring that will later have speech or language problems.

However, this month, the researchers got some push back in the journal where the original study was published. And in reviewing the results of the study, it appears the researchers overstated the association and import of the relationship they found.

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Bullying

What if Donald Trump Was Only an Algorithm?

What if Donald Trump existed only as an algorithm? Imagine if his entire campaign, presidency, and life all stemmed from a systematic approach to gain an identity other than the algorithm. It would be absurd. The very pattern of all his actions would be governed by the system he subconsciously wishes to overcome. By following his formula, Trump would cement the identity of a machine rather than a human.
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Bullying

How Trump’s Brand of Masculinity Hurts Us All: It’s Toxic But We Can Fix It

You can easily find tweets, posts and messages on all forms of social media with horrific messages designed to degrade and humiliate women. And we just elected a president who unabashedly slanders and bullies women.

I want to consider the hate that some men have for women, whether in public, on social media, or in private, where domestic abuse is still all too common. These men seem to lack empathy for women. What could explain the lack of empathy that fuels misogyny?
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Ethics & Morality

Tolerance Must Be Intentional

It is virtually impossible to grow up white in America completely free of racism or bias. We are a country which was built upon the genocide of one race, and the enslavement and brutalizing of another. White, and male, superiority was written into our original Constitution, and has taken centuries to soften. Much as well-meaning and ethical white people would like to avoid them, racist notions seep in under our doors, appear unbidden on our screens, as much as does body distortion for women and hyper-masculinity for men.
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General

Did the House Just Let People with Mental Illness Buy Guns?

There's a lot of misinformation floating around with the recent gun vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn a rule made late in the last administration's tenure. The final rule, announced in December 2016 by the Social Security Administration, was a misguided effort to try and keep guns out of the hands of some people with mental illness.

But it was a bad rule to begin with that should've never been finalized, because it didn't take into account a person's likelihood to commit a crime or likelihood of using a gun to commit violence. Furthermore, the rule violated the due process rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

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Anxiety and Panic

The Benefits of Laughter

Could laughter defeat ISIS? If you were on an operating table, in need of a triple-bypass, might you call in a clown? While a P.O.W., undergoing torture, would all your suffering disappear when someone recited a decent knock, knock joke?

A logical person would consider all of the above absurd. Comedy is no panacea. And yet numerous cultures have found an integral place for farce and buffoonery.
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Bullying

Why Trump’s Election May Be Especially Difficult for Many Raised in Dysfunctional Families

I have heard from many who grew up with dysfunction, abuse, or narcissistic control how upset they feel by Donald Trump's election. As one person told me, “It feels like a nightmare. An egomaniac who cares little for my welfare is taking over my country and there is nothing I can do about it. I feel like I did as a kid when my autocratic dad had total control over all of us.”
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Addiction

Carrie Fisher, Bipolar Disorder, Addiction & The People She Inspired

When Carrie Fisher passed away on Tuesday morning at age 60, she left behind a legacy of being one of the first and most vocal Hollywood celebrities and actors to speak openly about mental illness. Specifically, Fisher battled bipolar disorder and addiction throughout most of her life, but never was shy speaking about these demons, all the while never letting herself be solely defined by them.

So while most of the world will remember her as Princess Leia -- the fierce, independent heroine in the original Star Wars movies -- many people will remember her for her ability to give dignity to those living with the most debilitating silent disease -- mental illness. As a champion for people with bipolar disorder and addiction, we remember her today along with millions of others.

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